Thousands of Americans have taken to the streets this year to march for women’s equality, environmental issues and an overhaul of the president’s immigration policies. Now for the first time, the anti-Trump resistance movement is setting its sights on a corporation: McDonald’s.
Organizers from the Women’s March, MoveOn.org and the Bernie Sanders campaign spinoff Our Revolution will join forces next Tuesday to march from Trump Tower in downtown Chicago to the Rock N Roll McDonald’s, a half-mile away. Their goal: to rally the fast-food giant — and the country’s second-largest employer — to pay an hourly minimum wage of $15 and allow its workers to unionize.
“McDonald’s, frankly, is the Donald Trump of corporations,” said Kendall Fells, organizing director of “Fight for $15,” a labor movement backed by the Service Employees International Union, which is leading the effort. “There’s no way to resist Donald Trump without resisting the corporations that are bringing us all down.”
Representatives for McDonald’s did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment.
The “March on McDonald’s,” as it is being called, is backed by several progressive groups including the Movement for Black Lives, Color of Change and Patriotic Millionaires, a group of wealthy individuals headed by former BlackRock executive Morris Pearl. About 10,000 demonstrators are expected to take part on Tuesday, Fells said.
The following day, marchers will head to McDonald’s annual shareholders meeting at the company’s headquarters in Oak Brook, Ill., to continue their efforts. Hundreds of fast-food cooks and cashiers are expected to protest at McDonald’s stores throughout the United States.
“Labor rights are women’s rights,” Carmen Perez, co-chair of the Women’s March, said in an email. “The link between the gender justice and labor justice movements is strong — but often unacknowledged. Women’s March is proud to join others to rise up against unfair labor practices, economic exploitation and workplace sexual harassment. These fights are our fights, and the only way we win is together.”
Next week’s march comes after years of heated protests at McDonald’s shareholder meetings. For the past three years, widespread demonstrations have led the company to close down its headquarters the day before its annual meeting. Last year, hundreds camped outside the company’s headquarters in protest. McDonald’s has nearly 37,000 restaurants around the world that employ about 1.9 million people, making it the world’s second-largest private employer, according to 2015 data from the World Economic Forum.
Since 2012, several cities and states, including California and New York as well as Seattle, have passed measures requiring an hourly minimum wage of $15. The District last summer approved legislation that would raise the city’s minimum wage to that level by 2020, and a similar bill has been introduced in Maryland. Companies including Facebook, Aetna and Nationwide Insurance alsohave announced plans to raise worker pay to at least $15 per hour.
President Trump, for his part, has spoken out against an hourly minimum wage of $15.
“If we’re going to compete with other countries,” he told Fox News in 2015, “we can’t do that, because the wages would be too high.”